Flood Watch Looms Over Holiday Travel

CHARLOTTE, NC — More rain predicted Tuesday and Wednesday could close roads well into the afternoon.

AAA says that’s bad news for what is expected to be the busiest travel day this holiday season.

Traffic has been coming to a crawl around Charlotte in the week leading up to Christmas with families traveling and shopping. Add to that downpours, cars stuck in flood waters and wrecks, and drivers want out.

“Oh, it’s terrible!” said Clay Daniel. “That’s why I’m trying to leave extra early so I can try and avoid most of that. By the time I get out on the open road on 74, I won’t have to worry about it.”

Daniel is waiting until Christmas Eve to travel to family. An effort to avoid Wednesday traffic, the day AAA expects most people to leave town for Christmas.

AAA says traffic will likely be bad from 10 in the morning Wednesday until 7:00 in the evening.

Travel experts usually tell drivers to leave early to avoid that, but flooded roads could bring that plan to a screeching halt.

“They should take it into consideration, especially here,” said Betty Simpson. “There’s a lot of accidents and everything, and people still try to drive fast.”

Tuesday more than an inch of rain fell in one hour, flooding roads all over the state.

Crews had to rescue one driver stranded on Camp Greene Street in West Charlotte.

A flash flood watch for the Charlotte region will last into Thursday night.

AAA says you should take that into consideration if you’re planning to beat the crowds Wednesday morning.

“I think that’s probably accounting for why everybody is so congested today,” said Daniel. “Because they know it’s going to happen, they know we’re getting it. So they’re trying to get off the road as soon as possible.”

Sunday is also going to be the day to avoid. That’s when most drivers will be traveling back after the holiday.